I was thinking about a good article topic for June, when horse shows are well under way, that I thought it would be good information to remind people. So I had the thought to go on Pixabay (www.pixabay.com) a free reference photo site that I use all the time for my art, to see if I could get an interesting photo of a curb bit and this is what I came up with.
Can You Spot The Problem?
It's a good example. I'll share my thoughts on why this bit setup is useless - yes useless. The great thing about this photo is that it's anonymous. I just picked it from the website so I'm not offending any one as I don't know them. I wouldn't do that anyway. It's about the bit setup - not the person. We all learn. If you don't know, you don't know.
That's it. Just remember that and you will do fine!
Not Effective Curb Chain
In the case with the above example, this bit is not effective. The curb chain is so loose that it cannot work as the fulcrum in a curb bit. Curb bits work on the principle of a fulcrum for leverage. I encourage you to research it for yourself especially if you're having problems.
Doesn't matter how many parts, whether it's an english pelhum or a Tom Thumb, is the mouthpiece broken, jointed, solid, brass, copper, bla, bla, bla. Is it effective? Is it effective for you and your horse.
In this case, the horse will just ignore this bit and quickly too. Depending on the mouthpiece, the horse will feel discomfort in at least the corners of his/her mouth. The rider will inadvertently have to pull harder and harder over time to get the response they want and that's not something we as riders want to learn. We want to have quiet hands. That's a topic for another day. Please see my website www.reinersuehorsemanship.com for information on quiet hands. There is a great search function if you need it.
Formula for the Right Bit
Part of the formula of the right bit is to have the curb chain situated to act properly as the fulcrum of the curb bit. That's why curb bit's are often mentioned with a ratio to describe the relationship of the rider's pressure to the pressure felt in the horse's mouth. If it's a 2:1 ratio, then if the rider exerts 10lbs of pressure through the reins to the bit and the curb chain is working properly, the horse will feel 20lbs pressure through the mouthpiece. The point is for the rider to have/maintain soft hands.
In the above example, that would not work. It would be a 1:1 radio and work like a snaffle bit (which is a 'direct pull' bit and not a leverage bit. Notice I don't mention anything about the mouthpiece. It's not about the mouthpiece.) Sadly, the horse would learn to pull against this bit, get heavy handed in other words and would not have any 'brakes'.
What to do? What to do?
Ok. This is an easy fix. Simply tighten up that curb chain so that it sits comfortably in the chin groove of the horse. The tighter fit to that chin groove, the quicker the horse will feel the pressure of the bit against several parts of their mouth including the tongue. And that is a good thing IF the rider's hands are soft. Talk about a horse whisperer! :)
I hope you enjoyed this. I did. Reminds me of my passion for an understanding of bits and their function. I think I will do more of these. If someone wants a bit evaluation, please contact me.
Putting my spin on effective bits.
Reinersue - Myler Bit Technical Certified
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